The uneasy power of love
Yes, the wedding was a “who’s who” and fashionista’s delight.
But it was the address and the animated picture of Bishop Michael Curry, the first black presiding bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church which endures for me. The cultural clash was palpable.
Some of the Royals smiled widely, others shuffled in their seats.
At one point, Singer, James Blunt reportedly called out “Amen”. And even Sir Elton John, who prior to the start of the service, was seen kissing another man in the church, looked puzzled at the message of love.
Some say Bishop Curry spoke too long, however, there were few ‘glazed eyes’, people were listening.
Putting aside people’s reactions, I’m left scratching my head asking; “when did I last see so much press coverage of a sermon at a wedding?” It’s my experience, the one constant when watching wedding videos is whoever has the remote, come the sermon, they ‘fast forward’.
Yet YouTube is flooded with people listening and watching again Bishop Curry’s message of love.
“There’s power in love.” “Don’t underestimate it.
“Don’t even over-sentimentalise it,” Bishop Curry said.
Whether frowning, smiling or politely holding back a laugh, people’s reactions showed love’s power.
“There’s a certain sense in which when you are loved, and you know it, when someone cares for you, and you know it, when you love and you show it – it actually feels right. “There is something right about it. And there’s a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of love, and our lives were meant – and are meant – to be lived in that love. That’s why we are here.
“Ultimately, the source of love is God himself: the source of all of our lives. There’s an old medieval poem that says: ‘Where true love is found, God himself is there’.
Bishop Curry continued, “There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will.
“There’s power in love to show us the way to live. There’s power in love to help and heal when nothing else can.”
The passionate preacher challenged Harry and Meghan, well known for their charitable works, and all of us, to “Think and imagine a world where love is the way.”
“Imagine our homes and families where love is the way…
“Imagine governments and nations where love is the way…
“When love is the way, then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields, down by the riverside, to study war no more,” he said.
Let’s face it, the guest list was a mix of ‘A-listers’ from both sides of the Atlantic. Success, opportunity, power; no one in the congregation would wonder where their next meal is coming from or whether they can meet the rent.
Very unlike some fairly new New Zealand citizens, friends of mine whom I’d not seen for a little while and who called to see me on Saturday. She was on ‘cloud nine’ because after four attempts she finally got her driver’s licence; enabling her to continue working, helping feed the family, pay the rent, electricity, school fees…
When they left, going home to watch the Royal Wedding, it was as though, “who needed a car, I’m flying”.
Then Sunday, a phone call:Some lousy soul threw a large stone and smashed their street-front window. How totally loveless. It’s easy to fix a window, but they’re left shattered, a little scared, feeling unloved in their new country.
Quoting from a spiritual song, Bishop Curry said: “If you cannot preach like Peter, and you cannot pray like Paul, you just tell the love of Jesus, how he died to save us all.”
Telling the love of Jesus is often best done with actions, not by throwing stones.
In among the abundance of love on display during the ceremony was Harry’s “thanks pa” to Charles for escorting his bride to the altar, the look Harry gave Meghan as she arrived, departures from protocol; Harry wearing a wedding ring and Harry and Meghan’s kiss on the Church steps, etc.
Another, and one of my abiding memories, a tangible expression of love, was that huge former England outside centre, a brute of a rugby player, Mike Tindall, in public and with 2 billion people watching, turn to lovingly massage his heavily pregnant wife.
“We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world, for love is the only way.” Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
- John Murphy is a Marist priest working in communications and new media.
- Image: ManPost
Thanks again to CATHNEWS NZ for this item, from the local perspective of Father John Murphy, S.M. – of the impact on him, a Roman Catholic priest in New Zealand, of looking in on the recent Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle in the Chapel Royal at Windsor.
Fr.Johns’s reaction to the basic message of the Love of God was, I believe, the reaction of many people – believers and non-believers – who watched the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal (Anglican) – Church in the U.S.A., Bishop Michael Curry. They loved it!…..
It reminded me very much of an occasion when Diana and I were in Assisi, and we decided, on the Day of Pentecost to attend Mass at the Basilica of Santa Chiara, conducted by Franciscan clergy. The very full church was, I think, spellbound by the words of the preacher. After ascending the pulpit, and waiting in prayer for at least a minute, he began his message – in the Italian language which we were not familiar with. However, what we heard and recognised throughout the 10-minute address was the frequent repetition of the words: “Amore di Deo” (The Love of God).
For me, this was an occasion of the value of ‘Speaking in Tongues’, when the listener is able to hear the basic message of the Gospel in another’s language.
For each of us, this was an occasion of an overwhelming sense of ‘The great Love of God as revealed in the Son” which is spoken of in the scriptures, and by which Jesus told his disciples they would be known as his followers. For us, this was indeed ‘A New Pentecost’.
“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful with the fire of your love – through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!”
See also: https://churchofengland.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=50eac70851c7245ce1ce00c45&id=326a94188e&e=d873124739
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand